I just discovered that I accidently put this post up at the church blog (The Pastor's Pen) rather than here at my personal blog (A Thinking Man's Thoughts). This was posted on the Monday of the Championship game (and I am going to publish it as though it was here on that date so that I can find it easier next year if I need to do so).
Tonight is the NCAA Men's Basketball Championship Game between the University of Connecticut Huskies and the Butler Bulldogs.
The fact that these two teams are in the Finals is extraordinary in a lot of ways. I have not had a lot of opportunities to watch many of the games this year, but I have greatly enjoyed most of the ones I did see. There are some incredible athletes at this level - and as a fan of the underdog, this game has provided a bunch of upsets as the little guys took down the top seeds over and over again.
Last year when Butler made the Final against Duke there were a lot of comments and comparisons between Butler and the movie Hoosiers with the small school underdog Hickory winning the Indiana High School basketball championship. Since Butler made it this far last year, their return trip has not generated quite as much as surprise, but in some ways this trip is actually more similar to the REAL story underlying upon which the movie Hoosiers is (loosely) based.
For instance, while the coach in the movie is an old grizzled coach and the team makes an incredible one-year run, in real-life the Milan team was coached by a very young coach (who was a graduate of Butler University) and the championship in 1954 was actually the culmination of an incredible 2-year run like Butler is currently experiencing. (The Milan 1952-1953 team had surprised everyone by reaching the Indiana High School Final Four in 1953 and then came back the next year to win it all.)
I commented on some of the other similarities last year - here.
Included were these comments (original includes a couple of links - and please excuse the self-quote):
For instance, the movie's final scene where tiny Hickory High won the championship was filmed at Butler's Hinkle Fieldhouse, the real person upon whom the movie's basketball star "Jimmy Chitwood" is based upon was a young man named Bobby Plump, who followed his career at Milan by playing at ... you guessed it - Butler University. The coach of the 1954 Milan team was a graduate of ... Butler University.
I am rooting for Butler, but Connecticut has had an incredible run in their own right with an incredible run throughout the Big East Tournament preceding this tournament.
A Thinking Man's Tourney Time Results
Since no one in A Thinking Man's Tourney Time has either one of these teams reaching the finals, we can declare the final results of this year's tourney.
This year A Thinking Man's Tourney Time was the year of the Andys. Winning it all this year is Andy Rupert. Andy followed up his runner-up finish last year to win it all this year with an impressive bracket in a year of bracket-busting games and bracket-busting teams. For instance, Andy had 11 of the Sweet 16.
Congratulations to Andy!
Not only did we have an Andy win it all, we also had an Andy come in second place. Andy Efting rebounded nicely this year as he almost went from worst to first, falling about one early game loss away from winning it all in an impressive display of bracket redemption.
# Player Points Wins Championship Pick
1 Andy Rupert 185 38 Ohio St. (145)
2 Andy Efting 180 35 Ohio St. (133)
3 Jon Knisely 166 35 Kansas (141)
4 Matt Jury 163 35 Ohio St. (198)
5 Ron Bean 162 34 Kansas (155)
6 Frank Sansone 159 34 Duke (179)
7 Sarah Nething 151 29 Kansas (157)
8 Don Johnson 144 31 Ohio St. (147)
Thanks again to all who played.
Just my thoughts,